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Physical Activity Participation


Routine participation in physical activity is important for the physical health and psychosocial well-being of people living with SCI. Several systematic reviews have documented fitness, health, and subjective well-being benefits of routine physical activity participation for adults with SCI (Neefkes-Zonneveld et al. 2015; Tomasone et al. 2013; van der Scheer et al. 2017). However, because people with SCI face tremendous barriers to physical activity, most do not reap the full benefits.

In order to support and improve physical activity participation in adults with SCI, it is important to first understand typical activity levels and patterns within this population.  It is also necessary to understand factors that facilitate and hinder physical activity participation. With an understanding of these factors, interventions can then be developed to target those facilitators and barriers, with the goal of increasing physical activity participation.

In this chapter, we review studies that have measured the amount of physical activity performed by adults with SCI. Next, we review studies that have aimed to identify demographic, psychosocial, environmental, and other factors that may correlate with physical activity participation and studies in which participants have been asked to identify their physical activity barriers and facilitators. Finally, we review intervention studies that were designed to increase physical activity participation and explore tools to support the implementation and dissemination of physical activity initiatives and programs among persons with SCI.

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